Teacher Made Final Gifts from the Heart

Martha Pavcek in 1961
Martha Pavcek in 1961

Martha Pavcek taught grade school in the Milwaukee area for much of her life. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison – she earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1936 and a master’s in botany in 1940 – she made one gift of $50 to her alma mater while she was alive. After her death in 2009 at the age of 94, Pavcek’s estate made a gift of more than $2.7 million to the UW Foundation. In her will, she designated that the total was to be divided evenly between support for stem cell research and veterinary medical students. The result created the Martha E. Pavcek Stem Cell Research Fund and the Martha E. Pavcek Scholarship Fund, which will award financial support for professional veterinary medical students in the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Pavcek’s family consisted of a brother, Paul, and sister, Olga. Paul died in 1964, and Olga, also a UW-Madison alumnus and a former elementary school principal, died in 2006. Olga died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, and Pavcek supported animal care groups such as the Humane Society, according to Jeff Kraft, a neighbor of Pavcek’s in Hartford. That explained her designation of support for stem cell research and students in the School of Veterinary Medicine in her estate plan. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more of Martha’s story.

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